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Trump Wants to Use Crypto to Gain Edge over Biden

Donald Trump is once again breaking presidential ground: He stands to be the inaugural nominee of a major party that will actively seek the support of crypto traders, leaving certain Democrats unsettled. During a recent Mar-a-Lago event, Trump addressed crypto enthusiasts, asking them to vote for him because of what he termed the Biden administration’s strict regulations against the industry.

Trump’s overt appeal to the cryptocurrency sector marks a notable shift from his earlier criticism during his initial term in office. However, the shift is consistent with the evolving stance of the GOP, which has grown increasingly receptive to digital assets such as Bitcoin while Democrats remain divided on granting legitimacy to the industry following various controversies.

Trump’s involvement represents a significant moment for cryptocurrency companies, which have exerted substantial effort lobbying in Washington and investing millions to sway the outcome of this year’s elections. Kristin Smith, CEO of Blockchain Association, one of the top lobbying groups for the cryptocurrency sector, stressed the relevance of Trump’s comments in bringing attention to the rising role that digital assets are playing in the present electoral environment.

The matter gives Trump fresh ammunition against Biden. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Gary Gensler, nominated by Biden, has pursued a series of legal actions against cryptocurrency platforms for potential violations of federal securities regulations. Tensions with proponents of cryptocurrency were further heightened by the White House’s recent threat to veto bipartisan legislation intended to reverse SEC restrictions.

Trump seized on these points during his speech, criticizing the administration’s stance on crypto regulation and painting Democrats as adversaries to the industry. However, not every Democrat shares this stance. Despite Biden’s threatened veto, 21 Democrats joined GOP legislators in supporting a resolution to revoke SEC cryptocurrency guidance. Nevertheless, figures such as Senator Elizabeth Warren have been against policies that favor the sector, citing concerns about financial stability, consumer protection and the potential for crypto to facilitate financial crimes.

It remains uncertain whether Trump’s appeal to digital-currency traders will translate into significant electoral gains. A recent poll revealed that most Americans are skeptical about the reliability and safety of crypto. Recent scandals, including Binance’s settlement and FTX’s collapse over alleged financial crimes, have further tarnished the industry’s reputation.

Still, polls commissioned by entities in the crypto space indicate a sizable portion of voters in major swing states view crypto as a significant issue. Moreover, ownership of crypto is more prevalent among young people and communities of color, demographics that played a crucial role in Biden’s victory in 2020 but now present a challenge for him.

Crypto has found favor with right-leaning lawmakers who champion it as an alternative to traditional financial systems. This sentiment is reflected in polls showing that cryptocurrency owners prefer Trump (48%) over Biden (39%).

While Trump’s support for digital assets has evolved since his presidency, it’s not without risks. The volatility of digital-asset markets and the involvement of key industry figures in legal troubles underscore the potential pitfalls. Furthermore, Trump’s backing for cryptocurrencies could exacerbate political division and make it more difficult for the industry to win over both parties to legislation that would benefit it.

Crypto industry players such as Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA) will be hoping that this election cycle ushers in some clarity regarding the regulatory framework for the industry.

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